AOH :: DEROO.TXT|
Bishop Remy DeRoo stands beside convicted pedo
From SISIS@envirolink.org Sun Mar 29 08:14:25 1998
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 07:07:00 -0800
From: "S.I.S.I.S." <SISIS@envirolink.org>
Subject: Victoria Bishop Defends Predator Colleague
CHURCH LEADER BACKS O'CONNOR
Victoria Catholic Bishop Remi De Roo says the disgraced Williams Lake
bishop remains innocent of sex crimes, and disputes the need for a
Vancouver Sun, March 27, 1998, by Douglas Todd, Sun Religion Reporter
[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain
biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts
and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
One of Canada's senior Catholic leaders says he's never been convinced
that Bishop Hubert O'Connor has ever been guilty of a crime. Victoria
Bishop Remi De Roo, well-known for his outspoken views on social and
economic justice, said he has stood by O'Connor ever since the former
principal was charged with sex crimes against six students in 1991.
O'Connor has never expressed remorse to native people -- even though
he has admitted he broke his celibacy vow and had sex with two native
students when he was principal of a residential school near Williams
Lake in the 1960s.
"I personally cannot see how what he had done was, strictly speaking, a
criminal offence," De Roo said Thursday.
His response is in contrast to Vancouver Archbishop Adam Exner, who two
years ago accepted the court's conviction of O'Connor and formally
apologized for O'Connor's actions.
De Roo, calling O'Connor by his nickname, "Hub," said O'Connor has
"admitted his weakness from the moral point of view. But going from
there to wanting to lay a sentence on him, I think, is a mistake."
The B.C. Court of Appeal on Tuesday overturned two 1996 sex convictions
against O'Connor. The three judges acquitted him of one count of indecent
assault of a teenage girl and ordered a new trial (which would be
O'Connor's third) on one count of rape.
Although De Roo said he's not an expert on the legal machinations of
O'Connor's case, he believes that the appeal court's decision shows
that O'Connor has not yet had a fair trial and must be considered
innocent until proven guilty.
O'Connor, who admitted to fathering a baby with one of the former
students, is believed to be the highest Catholic official in the world
ever convicted of a sex crime. His case has drawn international negative
attention to the Catholic church and has been a focal point for natives
claiming residential schools were a form of cultural genocide.
De Roo says O'Connor is a broken man emotionally, physically and
financially -- "although he seems more at peace now than he was initially
when the full impact [of the charges] hit him."
However, University of B.C. professor Jean Barman, who has an essay on
O'Connor in the current issue of B.C. Studies journal, is disturbed by
an earlier parole hearing report that said O'Connor holds his native
"victims in contempt." Noting that O'Connor has told judges he was
"seduced" by the then-teenage native women, Barman says O'Connor's
attitude perpetuatesan old stereotype that native females are "free game"
De Roo, however, suggests another motive for O'Connor's anger toward
the complainants. "He's been overwhelmed by the bitterness and the slander,
particularly the misrepresentation of what actually happened. It's really
saddened him deeply."
The former bishop of Prince George lives in an Oblate residence near
Duncan, on Vancouver Island, where De Roo says he reads, prays and
does household repairs for neighbours and friends.
Barman charges that O'Connor's ability to drum up the money to launch
a costly legal defence of the charges against him reveals the stark
imbalance of power that has long existed between the once-revered
bishop and his victims.
But De Roo, 73 -- who speaks eight languages, has five honorary university
degrees and has frequently supported native land claimcauses -- makes no
apologies for O'Connor's Catholic supportersputting up the money to hire
top lawyer Chris Considine to defend himfor seven years, including taking
the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
"If you and I believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty,
don't we have a responsibility to help them to maintain their
innocence if they are convinced that is so?," De Roo said. "It would
be rather sad if that is turned against us as favoritism."
While De Roo readily admits the churches colluded with the federal
government to treat natives unequally through the residential-school
system, he believes widespread sex-abuse investigations have led to
the public maligning everyone who ever worked in the institutions.
"Having given their lives to the cause of education, and worked under
extremely difficult circumstances, they are now told they have
betrayed [Indians]. How would you feel if you had taught all your life
and then your students turned against you, and said you destroyed them?"
De Roo, who has been Victoria bishop for more than 35 years, says he's
taken a lot of criticism for standing up for O'Connor. "But that's part of
life. We don't live by criticism. We live bytrying to do the truth, and do
what is right."
^v^v^v^v^v CHURCH AND STATE: PARTNERS IN INDIGENOUS GENOCIDE v^v^v^v^v^
"Give us the names of the abusers in your diocese that you had transferred
to hide their shame" -- Bill Wilson, Kwagiulth Nation to Bishop Remi de Roo
Letters of Outrage and Condemnation to:
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Most Reverend Remi De Roo, STD, D.D.
Bishop of Victoria
Diocesan Pastoral Centre
#1 - 4044 Nelthorpe St.
Victoria, BC V8X 2A1
Phone: (250) 479-1331 Fax: (250) 479-5423
Aborgiginal Rights Coalition (ARC), which is Church sponsored
Letters to the Vancouver Sun: email@example.com
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